Mis en cause
[Montréal] et M. Doug Camilli (journaliste)
Représentant du mis en cause
M. Mark Harrison
(éditeur, The Gazette [Montréal])
Résumé de la plainte
Le titre et le
texte du reportage «God Save the Queens», publié sous la signature du
journaliste Doug Camilli dans l’édition du 21 mars 1981 de The Gazette,
s’avèrent extrémement offensants et insultants à l’endroit des homosexuels. Le
journaliste fait preuve de mauvais goût, en traitant de manière humoristique
des mesures disciplinaires imposées à certains membres de l’équipage du yacht
royal Britannia, pour activités homosexuelles. L’épithète «queen», utilisée
dans le titre, est manifestement sexiste, péjoratif et homophobe. The Gazette,
qui n’accorde pas une couverture convenable à la communauté homosexuelle,
ajoute ainsi l’insulte directe à sa négligeance habituelle.
Griefs du plaignant
de presse du Québec has completed its investigation of Mr. Thomas Waugh’s
complaint against Doug Camilli’s story published under the headline «Good save
the Queens» in The Gazette column «Names in the news» of March 21, 1981.
In his complaint,
Mr. Waugh takes exception to Mr. Camilli’s report and heading which he
considers as «extremely offensive and insulting both as an individual and as a
member of the Association pour les droits de la communauté gaie du Québec and
the Groupe auto-défense gaie».
to Mr. Waugh the rendering of the report into a light humorous item of the
discipline imposed on some crew members of the Royal yacht Britannia for
homosexual activity was a scandalous lapse in taste, in violation of a
minority’s civil rights and the Human Rights Code.
blatantly discriminatory, according to Mr. Waugh, was the appearance of the
«pejorative», «sexist» and «homophobic» epithet «queen» in the heading of the
to Mr. Waugh «it does not become a newspaper of the power and influence of The
Gazette to insult the lesbian and gay community of Quebec […] by providing a
forum for the bigotry of its reporters under the guise of humor».
pointing out The Gazette’s failure to provide the homosexual community fair
coverage, Mr. Waugh concluded that «it was unacceptable that The Gazete add
direct insult to this neglect». To illustrate this last point, Mr. Waugh drew
the Council’s attention to an earlier letter he had written to The Gazette to
respond to what he regarded as discriminatory coverage. The Gazette refused to
published this letter.
Commentaires du mis en cause
to the Council’s request for your point of view, you explained that although
The Gazette did regret that Mr. Waugh should find the item and the heading in
question insulting, you could not share his view. The Gazette’s report was a
factual and legitimate one, regardless of whether or not Mr. Waugh found it
As for the
heading «God save the Queens», your qualified it as «a mild attempt at
witticism» which you did not feel insulting.
the non-publication by The Gazette the complainant’s earlier letter denouncing
The Gazette for failing to provide as much coverage as he would have liked for
films about the homosexual community, you explainded to the Council that you
could not recall any special reason for not publishing it, except that The
Gazette publishes only about one quarter of the letters it receives. It was
your view that this letter did not have any particular priority for publication
nor was there any special reason not to published it. It was simply not
regarded «as timely and as topical and as of much general interest as other
letters» The Gazette received during the same period.
The word «queens» used in the heading of the news item in question was inappropriate. Far from considering it as «a mild attempt at witticism», as you qualify it, the Council feels that this term should not have been used because of its derogatory character.
It is the responsibility of the press to dispel prejudice and not to nourish discriminatory attitudes towards persons and groups.
As to the publication of letters to the editor, this is a matter for the discretion of the editor. In exercising this responsibility however the editor must allow the expression of as many different points of view as possible in order to fulfil the primary responsibility of informing the public.
Analyse de la décision
- C08A Choix des textes
- C18D Discrimination